(medium Reibai Tantei Jouzuka Hisui)
by 相沢 沙呼 (Sako Aizawa)
Author: 相沢 沙呼 (Sako Aizawa)
Japanese Level: JLPT N2 ~ N1
Genre: Mystery, murder mystery, super natural
Pages: 386 (hardback edition) / 422 (Kindle edition)
English Summary (translation by Japanese Talk Online)
Mystery author, Kougetsu Shiro, has already helped solve a few crimes when he meets Jouzuka Hisui, a woman with a scarred heart.
She’s a medium who can converse with the dead, so when the words of the dead won’t hold up as evidence, Kougetsu must combine her medium powers with his logical mind to tackle a number of difficult cases.
All the while, a ghost-like serial killer is prowling the streets.
Only Hisui’s powers can track down this killer who doesn’t leave a trace.
But when the killer’s bloodthurst turns to her…
Why You Should Read medium 霊媒探偵城塚翡翠
At first glance, Medium seems like a very generic Japanese mystery. It the first chapter we have our two protagonists meet and solve a murder together. Then each subsequent chapter focuses on a stand-alone case. In between each chapter we have snapshots of the horrible torture and murder of women by a serial killer, with the final case of the book focusing on this killer.
I don’t want to delve into the story too much because of spoilers, but I was initially not all that impressed with the main protagonists, Kougetsu and Hisui. They seemed like somewhat shallow characters, and it wasn’t helped by the number of times the author mentioned Hisui’s emerald eyes. But the mysteries in each chapter were intriguing enough to keep reading, and then…
And then… AND THEN the final chapter does a table flip. It takes everything the book has already presented to you and brings it back under a magnifying glass, looking at it in painstaking detail showing you exactly how everything you read until this point was not what you thought.
It’s honestly one of the most satisfying endings I’ve read in a Japanese novel in a long time.
Why Japanese Learners Should Read medium 霊媒探偵城塚翡翠
I would say the majority of the vocabulary in this novel is JLPT N2~N1 level–a lot of commonly used N2 grammar with N1 vocabulary and kanji.
Saying that, if you read a lot of mystery (and especially murder mysteries) then you’ll find this book easy enough. If you haven’t though, then this is a great book for the who’s who of mystery detective vocabulary and kanji.
The language is advanced but the scenes are clear and the conversations flow naturally, making it a surprisingly easy read! The narrative is so engrossing that you might not even notice the language.
If you enjoy the book (or can’t be bothered to read the novel) there is a live action TV adaptation! I haven’t seen it so don’t know how it adapts the novel, but it might be good for additional listening practice.
Medium is probably one of my new favourites, and now there are two sequels that I need to pick up too! (I might also see if I can hunt down the TV show and give it a go.)
Highly recommended, especially to those who love mysteries.
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